In just a month and half, Pakistan has suffered four deadly Taliban attacks against Shia Muslims by Sunni Muslim extremists. But it is not just the Taliban that are trying to eliminate Shia from country. Local extremist groups like the Saudi-funded Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat openly advocate an anti-Shia ideology and are believed to be recruiting anti-Shia militants. With recent reports of an alliance between the Pakistani Taliban and the Islamic State group, the Shiite community could face even more bloodshed. (via France 24)
In response to the murders of 12 journalists in Paris last week, a group of leading Muslim political and academic leaders including Farahnaz Ispahani, former member of Pakistan’s National Assembly, Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center and a Director here at Americans for Democracy & Justice in Pakistan, signed a statement published in The New York Times on Sunday.
“We have a common agenda of development and economic revival, which is not possible to achieve without peace and stability in the region…Together we should rid the region of instability and insecurity…”
Pakistani journalist Raza Rumi survived an assassination attempt in March that killed his driver. He and other liberals have been targeted for criticizing Islamist militancy and a blasphemy law.
WASHINGTON – A report released today by the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center argues that heavy military spending in India and Pakistan has in fact been detrimental to the citizens of both countries in terms of security and economic growth, and calls on leaders to reinvest in trade and confidence building.
In India and Pakistan: The Opportunity Cost of Conflict, Atlantic Council South Asia Center Director Shuja Nawaz and Nonresident Senior Fellow Mohan Guruswamy explain how high defense spending and low economic integration into South Asia’s regional economy have come at the expense of those living in poverty. Although many now favor rapprochement, Nawaz and Guruswamy argue that unless both sides begin a dialogue on economic and military relations, these issues will only worsen.
In addition to military spending, a lack of strong bilateral trade relations between India and Pakistan has also exacerbated South Asia’s socioeconomic challenges. From GDP to job losses to investment, the non-fulfillment of trading potential is a cost that “neither of the two countries can afford to ignore.”
Nawaz and Guruswamy provide a set of actions both countries can take to decrease military spending and promote confidence building:
- Increase the distance between land forces by withdrawing from border areas
- Engage in direct communications between militaries, including exchange visits
- Invest jointly in energy, water, and export industries
- Open borders for trade and eventually tourism
Such measures will have a lasting impact beyond India and Pakistan, as the authors note: “economically intertwined and mutually beneficial economic systems in both countries will create a huge peace constituency that will not only be good for the two nations, but also for the region and the entire world.”
Read the full report here.
Listen to audio from the Report Launch here.
Pakistan’s Chief Justice, Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, said on Friday that the people’s freedoms cannot be violated or limited in the interests of national security, adding that human rights cannot be ignored at any cost.
On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I extend best wishes to all Muslims in Pakistan on the occasion of Eid al-Adha. I also congratulate the nearly three million pilgrims, including thousands of American Muslims, who are performing the Hajj this year. This great peaceful gathering breaks down barriers of race, class, and culture, and reflects the true image of a global community.
Those making the Hajj are a reminder of the powerful role that faith plays in lifting individuals and communities to a higher standard.
As Muslims unite to embrace the virtues extolled during the Hajj – those of sacrifice, benevolence, and brotherhood – I wish peace and strength to the people of Pakistan.
H.E. Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif
Prime-Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
The General Debate of the Sixty-eighth Session The United Nations General Assembly
New York, 27 September 2013
Mr. President, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I congratulate you on your election as the President of the United Nations General Assembly. It is a fitting recognition of your distinguished career.
I also commend Mr. Vuk Jeremic, for his outstanding leadership of the General Assembly in the past one year.
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has led the organization ably and wisely. We were glad to receive him in Pakistan in mid-August, as our honored guest on the anniversary of the Independence Day of Pakistan.
I stand here today before this Assembly, soon after my country has seen a new dawn.
I come before this house in all humility, as the elected Prime Minister of Pakistan, for the third time. I feel exonerated, as my supporters and I stood firm in our commitment to democracy in the long years of exile, exclusion and state oppression,
I am happy to inform the distinguished delegates that we now have a strong Parliament, an independent judiciary, a free media and a vibrant civil society.
But there is no room for complacency. We cannot lower our guard. Democracy needs constant vigilance and strong institutions. It needs careful nurturing. Most importantly, it is not promises, but good governance that sustains democracy.
My Government has put people at the centre. We will work to give them peace and security, an environment of growth and development. I am pursuing an inclusive approach for the entire nation.